24 November 2014

A Genealogy Far, Far Away

"Our registered users have created more than 60 million family trees containing more than 6 billion profiles. They have uploaded and attached to their trees over 200 million photographs, scanned documents and written stories." [source]
Ancestry.com frequently touts their numbers. Of the trees I've seen I would estimate at least half of the "photographs" are actually clip art and other genealogically useless images. When you factor in trees back to Adam & Eve or Greek mythology, how many profiles are also genealogically useless? And then there's the trees. How many of them are just plain junk?
Do a search for your favorite fictional book, movie or television character and you are bound to find them somewhere in Ancestry's Member Trees. A search for Darth Vader brings up two trees for Star Wars characters and another tree created by a dog breeder who has 7000 dog profiles on 5 different trees. Then there are these gems. Each one is a tree in its entirety, minus any profiles for living people.

✿ ✿ ✿
✿ ✿ ✿
✿ ✿ ✿
Last but not least, a tree created by someone with the sense of humor of a three year old:

Thanks to Louise for the idea for this post! ;-)

NEXT POST: No Photo Yet

21 November 2014

Ye Gods!

Rule #9: The gods do not belong on your family tree.

There are literally thousands of trees on Ancestry.com with profiles for Gaia. Some of you may think, "None of those could possibly connect to living people." That would be the logical assumption anyway, that these are strictly mythological trees. Unfortunately that is not the case. I chose one of the crazier ones to feature here but I, and my wrist (in pain from all the clicking), can attest to the fact that some of these tree owners think they are descended from the gods of Greek mythology.
If you were going to create a tree to help you learn about the gods wouldn't you want it to be correct? If you thought, wrongly of course, you were related to them wouldn't you want your tree to be perfect? I know the relationships between the gods can get a little twisted but this is ridiculous.

Gaia of Greek Mythology Primodial goddess of the Earth

 SPOUSES, no children

 Aether Titan Primordial god of Light
 Aether Titan Primordial god of Light
 Father Sky Uranus
 Greek God Creation PHANES*
 Tartarus Primordial god of the Abyss**

 CHILDREN with Unknown Spouse(s)

  ✿ Cleta Cleocharia the Naiad
  ✿ Uranus aka Sky Ouranos 1st Ruler GOD the Universe ***
  ✿ Creusa Naiad

 SPOUSES and children

 Cecrops I Athens
  ✿ Cranaus of Athens
 Draco of the Gods
  ✿ Echion of the Gods
 Oceanus God The Oceans Of Titans
  ✿ Asopus RIVER GOD
  ✿ Clymene Klymene of the Oceanides
  ✿ Creusa Naiad
  ✿ Iepatus God Titan of the West and Mortality
  ✿ Pleione Dione The Oceanide Nymph
 None as Pontus was Sea God First one born
  ✿ Phorcus Phorcys The Old Man of the Sea Titan God of The depths
  ✿ Pontus Primordial god of the Sea ***
 Pontus Primordial god of the Sea
  ✿ Eurybia The "Strong Goddess"
  ✿ Nereus Greek Mythology The Old man of the Sea
  ✿ Thaumas (the awe-striking "wonder" of the Sea, embodiment of the sea's dangerous aspects)
  ✿ Phorcus Phorcys The Old Man of the Sea Titan God of The depths
  ✿ Ceto/Keto Oceanic Deity Theoi Halioi Goddess of Sea Monsters
 Soil Primordial God
  ✿ Cecrops Athens
  ✿ Cranaus Athens
 Tethys Titan
  ✿ Iepatus God Titan of the West and Mortality
  ✿ Pleione Oceanide
 Zeus aka Zeus Jupiter OLYMPUS OLYMPIAN
  ✿ Cleocharia NAIAD
  ✿ Tethys Goddess The Ocean Of Titans
 Uranus aka Sky Ouranos 1st Ruler GOD the Universe
  ✿ Asopus RIVER GOD
  ✿ Briares Hundred Handed One, Hekatonkheiree
  ✿ Cecrops Athens
  ✿ Cecrops I Athens ***
  ✿ Ceto/Keto Oceanic Deity Theoi Halioi Goddess of Sea Monsters
  ✿ Cleocharia II the Naiad
  ✿ Clymene Klymene of the Oceanides
  ✿ Cottus Hundred Handed One, Hekatokheire
  ✿ Cranaus Athens
  ✿ Crius Krious The Ram the Titans
  ✿ Dione
  ✿ Doris The
  ✿ Eurybia
  ✿ Eurynome
  ✿ Goddess the Underworld Styx
  ✿ Gyges Hundred Handed One, Hekatonkheire
  ✿ Hiperión περίων Hyperíôn Dios de la Observación TITAN Titan of the East and Light
  ✿ Hyperion Elder God of the Titan of the East and Ligh
  ✿ Iepatus God Titan of the West and Mortality
  ✿ Koios Coeus Titan of the North and Intellec
  ✿ Kronos Cronos King of the Titans, Titan of Time and Agriculture
  ✿ Mnemosyne Titaness of Memory and Remembrance
  ✿ Oceanus God The Oceans Of Titans
  ✿ Okeanides Nymphs Springs Fountains
  ✿ Phoebe Phoibe "radiant, bright, prophetic" Titaness of Darkness and Mysteries
  ✿ Phorcus The Titan
  ✿ Pleione Dione The Oceanide Nymph
  ✿ Poyomoi River Gods
  ✿ Rhea (Rheia) the Titan Titaness of Family and Nature
  ✿ Scamander Xantus TEUCRI
  ✿ Simöeis Troy
  ✿ Theia Euryphaëssa (Theia, Aethra) Θεία Ευρυφάεσσα "Wide Shining" Titan Goddess of Sight
  ✿ Themis Titaness of Justice and Law
  ✿ Tethys Goddess The Ocean Of Titans
  ✿ Uranus stRuler God Universe
* Also Gaia's step-mother
** Also Gaia's sibling
*** Also Gaia's spouse

PREVIOUS POST: Clickophile Too
NEXT POST: A Genealogy Far, Far Away

17 November 2014

Clickophile Too

Rule #8: Editing out blatantly erroneous data from a clickophile's tree does not make the information accurate.

Here we have part of a tree that was obviously created by a clickophile:

 Peter DeWyckhurst
 Birth 1198 in Coulsdon, Surrey, England
 Death 1220 in Surrey, England

 Peter DeWyckhurst (1180-1203)
 Lady Peter De Wyckhurst (1180-1203)
 ✿ Peter DeWyckhurst (1180-1203) [female]
 ✿ Peter DeWyckhurst (1195-1220)
 ✿ WILLIAM ATTE WODE (1220-1278)
 ✿ Peter Atte Wode (1245-1313)
 (through father Peter DeWyckhurst & step-mother Peter DeWyckhurst)
 ✿ Lady Alice DeWyckhurst (1180- )
 ✿ Peter DeWyckhurst (1180-1203) [female]
 ✿ Peter DeWyckhurst (1195-1220)

 Lady Alice DeWyckhurst (1199-1220)
 ✿ Lady DeWyckhurst (1184- )
 ✿ Peter DeWyckhurst (1184-1203) [female]
 ✿ Peter DeWyckhurst (1195-1220)
 ✿ William Atte Wode (1220-1245)
 ✿ William Atwood (1224-1245)
 ✿ William Atte Wode (1224-1278)
 ✿ Peter Atte Wode (1245-1313)

The only "sources" are 16 other trees, no records. No surprise there. This person has accepted all the data from the other trees without question. The profile above is one of two trees used for the profile below. The other "source" tree only has Peter, his wife, his father, and one son, William Atte Wode.

 Peter DeWyckhurst
 Birth 1198 in Coulsdon, Surrey, England
 Death 1220 in Surrey, England

 Lady Alice DeWyckhurst (1199-1220)
 Married 1219 in Coulsdon, Surrey, England
 ✿ Lady (1184- )
 ✿ Peter DeWyckhurst (1195-1220)
 ✿ William Atte Wode (1220-1245)

Again, no actual records. If you think making "corrections" while copying other trees makes your tree better than theirs stop kidding yourself. Unless you have documentation to back up those corrections you are a clickophile too.

If you have a tree or profile to suggest please send the link to buwtree(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks! 


10 November 2014

AncestryDNA News

If you missed last week's AncestryDNA news you can read about it here.
A few things from Anna's blog post stuck out to me.
"These advancements will make AncestryDNA matching far more accurate, and each new match will be more likely to lead to a new discovery."
What good are "far more accurate" matches when we have no way of seeing how they match or each other? How about some decent tools? A matches in common tool? A surname search that actually works? Anything?
"Best of all, we’re going to roll this out to all AncestryDNA members for free, and you don’t have to take a new test to get the benefits."
Is it just me or does anyone else think Anna is trying to make Ancestry.com sound magnanimous? In reality that's exactly what Ancestry promised from the start. No charge for new matches, updates to our results, or new features. If they started charging for new features sales would drop dramatically. Why would anyone buy a test if there was a possibility of, a year or two down the road, Ancestry actually coming up with decent tools that we could only use if we shell out more money?
"Pairing this data with well-documented family trees and the expertise of Ancestry has allowed the AncestryDNA science team to develop groundbreaking new algorithms for finding and predicting relationships through DNA. These new algorithms will lead to better matches for anyone who tests with AncestryDNA."
Am I reading this correctly? AncestryDNA matches will factor in trees? What the...? Yeah, because that has worked so well for Ancestry's shaky leaf hints.
Is Ancestry hiring hundreds of genealogists to vet those "well-documented" family trees? Or will the "well-documented" label be based solely on the number of records attached? We all know how helpful that will be. Our clickophile cousins can just mash our trees together with theirs with no regard for accuracy and Ancestry will assure them that the relationship is solid. UGH!
"Be confident that your matches are in good hands with our team of experts."
Confident? Ha! Experts? If their DNA experts are as qualified as their social media experts the AncestryDNA test will become worthless. We'll have to wait and see what updates they have in store for us.

PREVIOUS POST: Social Disgrace: Double Down
NEXT POST: Clickophile Too

07 November 2014

Social Disgrace: Double Down

Note 1: I am going to refer to the admin as "he" in this thread but the admin may very well be a she. It is just easier to write and read a single pronoun rather than constantly using he/she.
Note 2: This is an updated post. After publishing (and sleeping) I, hopefully, figured out how to make this easier to read. There are also corrections to the comment timeline. The original post still exists and is after the jump if you're curious.

Ancestry.com's social media team is so inept I could write these posts on the daily basis. Sometimes their answers are just painful. This admin doesn't understand that the link he's posting contradicts the point he's making. Shirley and Jane keep trying to get him to see his error but he refuses. My comments are after the screen caps.

(1) Shirley points out that a post on Ancestry.com's blog clearly contradicts the admin.
(2) Shirley also links to Ancestry's help section that clearly states what is and isn't included with the purchase of an AncestryDNA test.
(3) The admin states that updates have been made and then posts a link that goes to the exact same page Shirley posted. Uh, okay.
(4) Shirley quotes the linked page.
(5) Jane quotes the linked page.
At this point, shouldn't the admin be questioning himself? "Maybe I'm reading this wrong. I'll should go back and read it again."
(6) Instead he blames the site developers because he couldn't possibly be wrong. Here's the link he suggests to Shirley, "Providing feedback about Ancestry."
How's this for feedback? Dear Ancestry, please hire competent reps.
(7) Now he just doubles down and posts the link again!
Dear Admin: Posting the same link again will not change the fact that it contradicts what you're saying. Here are some steps to follow: 1) Read 2) Comprehend 3) Answer customers' questions. If you can't do steps 1 and 2 don't even try step 3.
(8) The final comment looks to have been made by someone from a different department. Notice the "signature." Maybe they can give the previous admin a tutorial on reading comprehension."The information in the article is correct...Once again, we are sorry about the miscommunication," by other Ancestry employees who are clueless, "and invite you to send us a private message with your email address if you have any further questions about this issue. We can then provide you with information specifically pertaining to you and your account." It will also allow us to answer questions without other customers pointing out errors by Ancestry employees.

The thread above was from Oct. 31st and can be found here.

NEXT POST: AncestryDNA News

03 November 2014

What the WHAT?

If you haven't read a "WHAT?" post before, these comments were found on various Facebook pages, message boards, and anywhere people discuss genealogy online. They were all cut and pasted, no editing. I have removed all names to protect the clueless. My comments are in red and should be taken with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

 ✿ I love the TLC show Who Do You Think You Are? last night's episode on Brooke Shields was fascinating!!! I've gotten back to 17th century on mom's side; finally found Scottish connection on dad's side....then my free 2 wks Ancestry.com ran out. LOL. i have the names; now want some stories. :-)
Two weeks to get back to the 17th century? Yeah, that's a well sourced tree.

 ✿ My paternal great grandmothers lineage goes back to the 1st high king of Ireland, Brian Boru. Now I have set to document it!
If you haven't documented it how do you know that's who your line goes back to?

 ✿ Let me on [Who Do You Think You Are?]. I heard my dad say he is a direct decent of Sir Lancelot. I want to see if its true
You need to be on a television show to find out your father is not a descendant of a fictional character? Actually, I might watch that show. It wouldn't be WDYTYA? but a show confronting people delusional about their genealogy would be highly entertaining.

 ✿ ben [surname, not capitalized] ancestry search results
Knowing the difference between posting on Facebook and using a search engine should be a requirement before doing either.

 ✿ I had a one month subscription and i cant get a refund even though I only used it for a day. I don't care what your policies are. ITS MY MONEY AND I WANT IT NOW.
"I don't care what your policies are" or that I agreed to them.
[same person about two hours later]
NVM! They actually refunded it! Yayyy
Good to know. Complain on social media and you don't have to abide by the terms of service. Ancestry.com will just refund your money.

Apparently this person doesn't know the word 'please' and thinks a Facebook page will respond to a demand.

 ✿ I just created a new tree and evidently the hints system is down again. I just renewed my subscription less than a week ago and once again....I'm not getting what I paid for. And please don't tell me to clear my cache & cookies or give the the same link that I always get. None of those things work.
The search is working but I can't be bothered to do that. I only add records that are handed to me on a silver platter. The 90% of collections that don't show up as hints aren't of any concern to me.
This was a comment by a self-proclaimed "professional" genealogist by the way.

 ✿ Is there an easy way to find missing generations?

 ✿ I have been an Ancestry member since 2006. In all my years of looking for ancestors I have never gone an looked at other features they have. I discovered today with the help of the search button that they have free downloadable pedigree charts and family group sheets. Needless to say my printer has been running. Got on Amazon and ordered my legal binders for my family trees.
Eight years. Eight YEARS and you haven't poked around the site? SMH.

 ✿ got it pierman ,rogers. pierson ,burroughs
[a few posts later the same person continues]
Thompson , morrision,rogers,pierman,pierson, bird,murry, Johnson,moores,
And your point is?

 ✿ love hearing the stories of the different families, makes me want to search more and more into my family. thanks to ansctery i've been able to get past some road blocks and gotten back to greek myths. thanks for the education and stories
Not enough education apparently.

 ✿ Any word on how long until the search function for those born before 1000 A.D. is going to be fixed? I've got a LOT of family from way before then, and I can't get anything but some stray German school book information .... I've talked to customer service, who sent a report to the tech folks. Slowing me down !!
How am I supposed to find all those fantasy trees to copy if your search isn't working?!!? Oh and all of us have "a LOT of family from way before then" but none of us can document them.

 ✿ I love ancestry.com found my family back to 202 a.d.
Ancestry's records usually don't go back further than 1600. There are a few exceptions. None of those exceptions include records prior to the year 1200. 

AFTER THE JUMP: Adam & Eve comments, some head/desk moments and a few comments that would require an Idiot Whisperer to decipher.